Car parts firm admits causing Legionnaires’ Disease outbreak AND charges over explosion at plant

BOLDON, ENGLAND - A Boldon company has admitted charges relating to an outbreak of potentially deadly Legionnaires’ Disease and an explosion at its premises. TO READ THE ENTIRE ARTICLE, CLICK HERE.      
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Firefighters' Bazaar - Saudi Arabian Fire Protection Conference

For decades, innovation in flammable liquid fire fighting has struggled to match the ambitions of the engineers designing ever expanding storage tanks. Today, the size of tanks being built in the Middle East far outstrips the ability of firefighters to protect them.   David White, a fire protection expert and president of Industrial Fire World, addressed the topic as a keynote speaker at the 4th annual Society of Fire Protection Engineers – Saudi Arabian Chapter Conference and Exhibition in Dammam, Saudi Arabia, in November.   “The evolution of fire fighting equipment has not kept pace with the challenge of how big the tanks are, how much product they contain and what the consequences of a fire can be,” White said.   In the beginning, the word crude applied to the contents and the tanks themselves, White said. Slowly, refineries transitioned from wooden tanks to the steel ones. “And they were small,”...
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  Once upon a time, the tough guys in the movies were content just to dodge arrows and bullets with superhuman ability. Thanks to the wonders of computer generated images, big screen action heroes today routinely outrun massive, billowing fireballs, usually in slow motion.   Not to be a killjoy, but anybody that close to a roiling pressure fire would be cooked by the radiant heat in an instant. Unfortunately, real life firefighters seem to be losing sight of that reality. Modern fire gear is so good at insulating against the harsh environment that instead of hugging the floor responders stroll through it like a warm day at the beach.   In the last quarter century fires have changed in some incredibly dangerous ways. Remember the good old days when fires smoldered and creeped instead of racing out of control almost immediately. The window of time in which firefighters can take...
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Focus on Hazmat Potential Terrorist Tools

Terror is, by definition, a psychological phenomenon; a state of extreme fear within the psyche of a subject. It is not necessary that an individual be harmed or even be in danger of being harmed.    All that is required to create a condition of being “terrified” is that the subject be convinced that he/she is in a precarious situation. In fact, those who would employ terror as a weapon may well prefer that their victims remain uninjured. A panic stricken crowd is much more difficult to control than an equal number of uninjured personnel. By the same token the dedicated terrorist would prefer to have his activities result in injuries rather than in fatalities. An injured person may tie up a number of badly needed caregivers to provide aid and assistance to the terrorist’s casualty while a fatality can wait until order is restored and an organized body retrieval operation...
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Risk Assessment Validating Fire Apparatus Capability for Response to Industrial Facilities

Municipal, military, and airport fire apparatus are often relied on as part of a facility’s fire response strategy. All but the largest industrial facilities ­­- those that operate full scale fire brigades that are organized more like a city fire department – rely on off-site apparatus. For example, I was involved in a recent discussion where the ability of a large municipal fire department to deliver foam to a manufacturing plant flammable liquids hazard was evaluated. Even if the capability exists today, there are several reasons that capability might not exist over the long term. The problem, therefore, is that the facility, its insurer or other stakeholders might not ever be aware of a change in capability.   In the following paragraphs, I will outline some real changes that we have seen and how that might change the capability. It is critical that the assumptions made about off-site firefighting capability be...
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IFW addresses E-One dealers meeting in Florida

Industrial Fire World publisher David White was no more than half a mile away from ground zero when a chemical complex responsible for one-third of the world's polyethylene production exploded in October 1989 in Pasadena, TX. "I was at the plant next door teaching managers how to handle industrial emergencies," White said. White and IFW editor Anton Riecher addressed the E-One Dealers Meeting in Ocala, FL, in February on industrial emergencies depicted in their book, "Disasters Man-Made." A video of the presentation is available at the link to the left. Besides the Pasadena explosion, White detailed his participation in the response to industrial emergencies in Baton Rouge and Norco, LA. The book covers 31 industrial emergencies ranging from massive explosion and fires to fatal hazardous material events.    
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IRECA Scenario-Based Training

The International Rescue and Emergency Care Association (IRECA) will hold its annual conference and challenges in Houston Texas this year. Each year they put on challenges for 7-rescuer and 4-rescuer technical rescue teams as well as a BLS 3-rescuer teams. Participants come from various industrial settings, municipal agencies, and, in the youth division, some high school programs.    High school students?  Seventeen or 18-year-olds? Yes, students participate in the BLS challenge and serve as victims and organization volunteers for the technical rescue challenges during the week-long conference. In the BLS challenge, their teams compete beside the professional rescuers in the same scenarios and tests. While scored separately, they are scored against the same standards as the adults.   While some students come from explorer programs or other schools, most of the students come from a high school program called Opportunities in Emergency Care Association (OEC) in Spring Lake Park and Osseo, MN. The students train for a...
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Learn to Balance a Different Kind of Ball

It’s an ordinary day at the plant fire station; you have plans to pull some maintenance on one of the units and take care of a few other chores that have been needing attention; a routine day in the plant at Smalltown. Routine, that is, until the phone rings or the radio cuts in with an urgent message from the Chief of the Smalltown Volunteer Fire Department. There has been a derailment and they need your help. There are several tank cars off the rails, a number of which are leaking copiously and feeding the fire which is growing in intensity. The railroad has been notified and their response team is en route but their ETA (Estimated Time of Arrival) is four hours off. You are the only industrial fire department within a hundred miles; can you help? “No, we don’t have any idea what the what the lading of the...
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Risk Assessment After Action Reviews and Knowledge Management

In a recent article we relayed the story of a fire involving a large industrial plant where much of the facility was saved through excellent deployment of aerial master streams. Not long after the incident, I had an opportunity to visit the department, hoping to gain some insight that we could share with other fire departments that protect our customers. There was a different shift on duty and they seemed to have no knowledge of what happened or how the fire was fought. My immediate reaction was that it was such a waste for the department to have done such a good job and that not all of the members be aware of it. This was a medium sized department not so large that positive outcomes like this could not be shared throughout.   A formal After Action Review (AAR) is a military methodology (later adopted by businesses and the fire...
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Bateman wins Adair award

While honoring participants in the February session of the Hellfighter U fire foam training, school director Frank Bateman received an honor of his own – Industrial Fire World’s Red Adair Award for excellence in industrial fire fighting. IFW publisher David White presented the award during the Hellfighter U banquet held the last night of the four-day school conducted at the Brayton Fire Training Field in College Station, TX. “I am humbled by this,” Bateman said. “This is very special.” White said Bateman had never gotten the honors he deserves. “Frank Bateman is a guy who doesn’t seem to want publicity,” White said. “We’ve got news for him – this time he doesn’t get a choice.” Hellfighter U is the latest incarnation of Bateman’s highly regarded fire foam school. For decades, National Foam conducted an annual flammable liquids firefighting school at Brayton. In 2000, Bateman joined Kidde Fire Fighting as training manager,...
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Pipeline Cracks NIST finds that ethanol-loving bacteria accelerate cracking of pipeline steels

U.S. production of ethanol for fuel has been rising quickly, topping 13 billion gallons in 2010. With the usual rail, truck and barge transport methods under potential strain, existing gas pipelines might be an efficient alternative for moving this renewable fuel around the country. But researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) caution that ethanol, and especially the bacteria sometimes found in it, can dramatically degrade pipelines.   At a conference held in August 2011,* NIST researchers presented new experimental evidence that bacteria that feed on ethanol and produce acid boosted fatigue crack growth rates by at least 25 times the levels occuring in air alone.'   The NIST team used a new biofuels test facility to evaluate fatigue-related cracking in two common pipeline steels immersed in ethanol mixtures, including simulated fuel-grade ethanol and an ethanol-water solution containing common bacteria, Acetobacter aceti. Ethanol and bacteria are known to...
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CHEMTREC's Birthday Chemical emergency response service marks milestone anniversary

WASHINGTON, D.C. – September 2011 marks the 40th year of operations for CHEMTREC, the world’s foremost emergency call center that provides immediate critical response information during emergency incidents involving chemicals, hazardous materials and dangerous goods.   A service of the American Chemistry Council, CHEMTREC is a round-the-clock public service hotline available to fire fighters, law enforcement officials and other personnel who are the first responders in emergency situations. With links to the largest on-call network of chemical and hazardous material experts in the world, including chemical and response specialists, public emergency services, and private contractors, and more than four million accessible Materials Safety Data Sheets, CHEMTREC provides crucial assistance during incidents ranging from minor to critical.   “When faced with an incident involving hazardous materials or dangerous goods, emergency responders need access to reliable information and assistance immediately,” said Randy Speight, managing director of CHEMTREC. “Every day of the year for...
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Focus on Hazmat Policy, politics and progress

Regulations are a fact of life in the industrial world. They come from governmental agencies on the national level and from local government in our communities. They also come from industry itself. Regulations are not of necessity a bad thing. In fact when they set standards they are essential. For example: the thread pitch (threads per inch) standard National Coarse (NC) thread for a quarter inch bolt is twenty. Now this is not to say that there is anything sacred or superior about twenty threads per inch; a nineteen or twenty-one would serve as well but it does assure that we all sing from the same hymnal. Thus it is that I can go down to the local hardware store and purchase a nut for my quarter-inch bolt with every reasonable assurance that it will fit. It also makes possible the creation of specialized threads for specific applications. For example the...
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EMS Corner Hypothermia as a treatment?

  From EMT Basic training all the way through to full Paramedic, we have been trained to fight the battle of thermal effect problems, both Hypothermia and Hyperthermia.  We have passively warmed patients that were too cold and actively cooled patients that were too warm.  We have also fought since the beginning of EMS — cardiology was intimately involved in the early years — sudden cardiac death with Chain of Survival outlined by the American Heart Association.  With the incidence of out-of-hospital cardiac arrest consistently ranging from 350,000 to 450,000 per year and with only approximately 100,000 of those arresting subject to resuscitation, we are still only “saving” 40,000 of those to successful hospital admission. Of those 40k, the longer term outcome is very uncertain. Many of these will manifest what has come to be called “post-cardiac arrest syndrome” with effects such as brain and heart dysfunction and other systemic alterations....
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Annual Industrial School ESTI draws worldwide enrollment

  More than 600 industrial firefighters and safety officers were on hand at the Brayton Fire Training Field in Texas for the 49th Industrial Fire Training School held in July. Enrolled in the school were 611 members of industrial emergency response brigades and safety officers from some of the world’s largest oil & gas and chemical companies, including Exxon Mobil, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, Shell, BP, Valero, Marathon, Dow, DuPont, Enterprise, Sunoco and more.   Participants came from 11 countries to Texas Engineering Extension Service’s emergency preparedness training complex in College Station to hone their skills on some of the world’s largest industrial fire props and realistic rescue and hazmat scenarios.   Eighteen weeklong courses are offered, many of which qualify for National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) or ProBoard certification. Courses cover interior and exterior firefighting, hazardous materials, rescue, incident safety officer, LPG emergencies, leadership, fire instructor and more.   The most popular...
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ESTI Leadership New director takes charge of Texas fire school

Robert Moore, newly appointed director of the Emergency Services Training Institute at Texas A&M University, said he has a passion for both sides of fire fighting – municipal and industrial.     “In my opinion, the first priority of this job is to have a leader who has served both roles and worn both hats,” Moore said.   ESTI, one of the country’s top fire and emergency services training programs, offers more than 130 specialties and trains more than 80,000 firefighters and emergency responders annually. A division of the Texas Engineering Extension Services, ESTI operates the Brayton Fire Training Field in College Station, TX.   In April, Moore was appointed interim director following the retirement of Les Bunte. Before joining TEEX in 1996, he served more than two decades on the Arco Chemical plant fire brigade in Channelview, TX, working his way up to fire chief.   “I was one of...
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SS Chevron Hawaii OXEA fire chief boasts eventful career

  People usually mark the Labor Day weekend as the end of summer and a last chance to celebrate outdoors. Instead of a celebration, the outdoor event that Hugh Billings attended on Labor Day weekend in 1979 qualified as a conflagration – the explosion and fire aboard the SS Chevron Hawaii on the Houston ship channel.   Today, Billings is the Health, Safety and Operations Manager for the OXEA Corporation plant in Bay City, TX. In 1979, he was a Safety Specialist at Celanese Corporation in Houston and responded as a member of Channel Industries Mutual Aid (CIMA), the industrial mutual aid group protecting the ship channel.   “The biggest fire I ever went to was the chemical complex blast in Pasadena, Texas in 1989,” Billings said. “But the Chevron Hawaii was the most involved fire I ever fought in that you had a tank on fire as well as the...
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Fast Water Advanced pump operations get special attention at Texas fire school

  Despite scorching temperatures, most of the 600 people attending the Texas Engineering Extension Service’s Industrial Fire Training School in July chose to tackle live fire exercises. But the students taking Mark Turvey’s advanced pump operations class were an exception.   They preferred moving water. Big water.   “Students take our class to have a greater understanding of high volume water delivery – what it takes to make it work related to hydraulics, the amount of hose needed and the pumps required,” Turvey said.   Several high volume test shots at the Brayton Fire Training Field culminated the four-day class. The large delivery devices produced flows of 3,000 gpm and greater. Also used were multiple supply lines, advanced foam logistics, jet pumps and truck mounted systems designed to proportion foam from a distance.   “The exercise was to hook it all up, operate it and put all this flow on one...
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Action Training Agrium Fire Chief envisioned innovative Action Training Series

A fire chief building a state-of-the-art training system for Agrium’s industrial firefighters at fertilizer plants in Canada answered the need for specialized multimedia training tools by proposing and then assisting in creating Industrial Fire Brigades, a new series by Action Training Systems. The series teaches to NFPA 1081, a national professional standard for industrial firefighters.      Responding to fires at a chemical plant that produces ammonia by the ton is not the same as responding to a house fire. Yet for many years, industrial firefighters at chemical plants, as well as at large petroleum plants, trained with materials that were really designed for municipal firefighters. Commercial training materials designed for their specialized needs just weren’t available.   No one was more aware of this than Agrium’s  (NYSE:AGU) Bruce Dziwenka in 2007, when he was building the training system for 150 industrial fire brigade members at two fertilizer plants in Alberta,...
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Action Training IFSTA launches computer-based training

IFSTA and Fire Protection Publications of Oklahoma State University has launched the sale of computer-based training by Action Training Systems of Poulsbo, Wash. The step is the latest progression of a decades-long relationship between the leading publisher of fire service training manuals and the leading producer of video-based training media for firefighters.   More than 100 computer-based training (CBT) and simulation programs produced by Action Training Systems Inc. (ATS) are now available from Fire Protection Publications (FPP) of Oklahoma State University, the world’s leading publisher of fire service materials and headquarters for the International Fire Service Training Association (IFSTA).   IFSTA and ATS have collaborated for many years in developing multimedia content for ATS products. IFSTA/FPP editors and committee members often serve as subject matter experts for ATS content. ATS programs provide full motion video demonstrations of job skills and teach to the same standards as IFSTA-validated manuals published by FPP.   “Adding...
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